Biotin is a B vitamin found in a number of dietary sources. It helps your body to convert food into energy and plays a vital role in overall body health. It’s also known to manage blood sugar levels.
Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H as well. It plays several important functions in your body such as breaking down macronutrients and supporting hair and nail health. It can also work efficiently against metabolic disorders in children.
Biotin deficiency is fairly rare. However, pregnant women and people who drink high amounts of alcohol can develop mild deficiencies. Moreover, recent studies have shown that eating raw eggs on regular basis causes biotin deficiency as well. Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin that binds to biotin, preventing the body from absorbing it through your food.
Some degree of hair loss is normal. Hair naturally starts to lose its volume as you age. However, when your levels of vitamin B7 are low, some follicles stop producing hair, and hair shafts become finer. You might notice discolouration as well.
Thinning hair refers to minor and moderate hair loss. It doesn’t necessarily cause baldness, but it gives an appearance of thinner spots of hair on your head. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies can cause significant hair loss.
If you are not getting enough biotin from your diet, it can be easily noticeable. Your body requires nutrients for developing new hair strands and maintaining healthy hair follicles.
You can use biotin supplements and biotin-enriched hair products to counteract the effects of biotin deficiency on your hair. You can also try several treatments and home remedies to boost hair health, thickness and strength.
Symptoms of biotin deficiency include many clinical abnormalities, mainly dermal in nature. It causes a red rash around body openings including eyes, nose, mouth and perineum. This rash is very similar to that caused by zinc deficiency.
You can also develop conjunctivitis and other skin-related infections. The rash associated with biotin deficiency is scaly and can sometimes cause erosion as well. It can resemble psoriasis or ichthyosis.
Dermatologic vitamin b7 biotin deficiency symptoms include everything ranging from patchy rash to seborrheic dermatitis and fungal skin infections. In case of inherited deficiency, the rash presents in the first few weeks after the birth.
Using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream as biotin deficiency treatment for red rash is indicated. If you are experiencing increasing pain or discolouration in the affected area, seek medical advice from your GP immediately.
Loss of Appetite
Another common sign of biotin deficiency is decreased appetite. This is also known as anorexia. If you develop loss of appetite because of biotin deficiency, you might also notice other symptoms such as weight loss. These conditions can quickly turn into serious problems if left untreated.
In such situations, you can have prescribed medications to help increase your appetite. You might also find it easier to eat several smaller meals a day instead of three larger ones. Aim to make these meals high in calories and protein, and focus on consuming foods that are rich in biotin.
This way you can treat the symptom and handle the root cause at the same time. Moreover, try to take in plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Gentle exercise might sometimes increase your appetite as well.
Vitamin B7 deficiency also means your tears aren’t able to provide suitable lubrication for your eyes. This happens when your eyes fail to produce enough tears. It can also occur if your can’t maintain a normal layer of tears to coat your eyes. This tear imbalance leads to inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface.
Dry eyes feel uncomfortable and you may experience a sting or a burning sensation. You will also notice increased sensitivity to light and a continuous feeling of having something in your eyes.
Over-the-counter choices for dry eyes typically include eye drops, ointments and gels. All of these contain ingredients that help to retain moisture. Look for products that have lubricants or electrolytes such as carboxymethylcellulose and potassium.
If you have dry eyes, you can use a humidifier to increase the air moisture in your room. Also, try to avoid dry climates as much as you can.
Not all muscle aches are related to stress, tension or anxiety. As mentioned earlier, biotin is integral to energy production since it’s involved in the metabolism of both glucose and fat.
Therefore, muscle cramps and pains associated with physical exertion might be a sign of biotin deficiency. This pain is the result of the body’s inefficient use of sugar as an energy source. As there are muscle tissues in almost every part of your body, this type of aching can be felt practically anywhere.
Muscle pain often responds well to home remedies. You should give adequate rest to the area where you are experiencing the pain. Taking painkillers and applying ice to the affected area can considerably relieve pain and inflammation.
It’s important to remember that muscle aches can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. In some instances of biotin deficiency, home treatment isn’t enough to address the problem at hand. In such cases, you might need to see your GP.
How Is Biotin Deficiency Treated?
The most common biotion deficiency treatment is taking a dietary supplement with all B complex vitamins. This helps to improve biotin status in the body and relieve deficiency symptoms. Taking a B complex supplement instead of a basic vitamin B7 supplement will help to prevent imbalances.
The National Institutes of Health hasn’t established an Upper Limit intake for biotin. The Upper Limit intake is the highest intake amount that isn’t likely to cause adverse effects. Even in patients with biotinidase deficiency, high doses of 10 to 30 micrograms didn’t produce any symptoms of toxicity.
Once your body levels of vitamin B7 are restored, you need to take steps to maintain them. This means eating a balanced diet that includes sources of biotin, such as salmon, sunflower seeds and avocado. Alternatively, you can take a vitamin B complex supplement that meets your biotin RDA.
Using biotin hair products won’t necessarily provide instant relief for hair thinning. While not a hair growth miracle, vitamin B7 can have measurable, positive effects for your hair, nails and skin.
Biotin deficiency is quite rare, especially in individuals who eat a balanced diet. Symptoms of biotin deficiency appear gradually and can vary from person to person. Moreover, vitamin B7 deficiency symptoms can differ depending upon the age of the patient as well.
Recommended dietary allowance for biotin also fluctuates based on your age, sex and overall health. You can always talk with your doctor about the right amount of daily intake for your specific needs.
Adjusting your diet to include more biotin-rich foods is one option to address deficiency. Another is taking a B complex supplement that provides all the B7 you need.
If you experience any of these biotin deficiency symptoms, seek medical advice from your GP.